The tension built as each second passed.
They began to stand, one right after another. She wanted so badly to knock them over. I gave her a job. Handing me one at a time, while daddy set them up. I knew the end result of such patience would be truly rewarding.
There were 91 dominoes in all. A set of ivory white dominoes that sounded like a symphony when a tower of them fell together. The colors of the dots on each domino made them even more attractive. And even more difficult to resist toppling. But she waited. And helped.
About 63 were set, the trail was winding across the kitchen floor. Her younger sister looked on from her seat, far enough away to not cause any trouble, but close enough to add to the electricity behind the moment. Her eyes watched as daddy and big sister meticulously added to the line of dominoes leading across the ground.
The 64th domino wobbled, and for a moment our collective imaginations saw the trail of dominoes collide, one after another, with 27 of their friends missing the party. Being a close relative of the Weebles, however, this domino stood intact (Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down), with each of the consecutive dominoes breathing a silent sigh of relief. Progress would continue.
89. She had never seen so many dominoes standing at attention, each waiting for our command.
90. The air stood still. No one breathed. Her muscles held so much penned in tension, she appeared close to bursting as she handed daddy the final domino.
91. Here it was. The moment we’d been waiting for. Anticipating with each addition to the line-up. I wanted to give her the privilege of pushing over the lead domino. But would she understand what was going on? Or would she simply make a wide swipe with her hand, knocking over half of them in no particular order with one fell swoop?
To be sure, I pointed at the first domino, and said to her “go!”. In that moment, my finger came dangerously close. I was unaware of just how close I was, until I saw the first domino begin to wobble. And this was no Weeble wobble. It was coming down. I closed my eyes with a mix of regret and excitement as I heard my daughter scream and squeal with all sorts of joy. I opened my eyes to watch the expected outcome of Newton’s Third Law.
The domino I’d knocked over laid still. Defeated. And had fallen the opposite direction. The remaining dominoes still stood tall.
A crossroads. After hearing how much joy came from a single domino biting the dust, should I continue one at a time, producing several minutes of 90 more outbursts of the same emotion? Or should we go for the gusto, sending all 90 of them in one long chorus of clacking?
We went for the gusto…